SRHD Well being Board denies eating places’ request to increase well being allow

February 25, 2021, 6:59 p.m.

Elenee Dao

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 6:59 pm

SPOKANE, Wash. – For some local restaurants, every dollar counts. This includes money paid for health permits by the county every year.

“Nobody is happy about what has happened since March,” said Mark Starr, the owner of David’s Pizza.

Restaurant owners feel a little more stressed than others. For the past 11 months they have had to close and reopen. It was an endless cycle.

Now that they are open with some restrictions, it is still not enough.

“In fact, utilities went up because, if you can remember, we were open for about five weeks and had to open doors and windows,” Starr said.

Starr and the Spokane Hospitality Association are asking the Spokane Regional Health District for your indulgence and requesting an extension of the annual health permit.

They are asking the health district to wait another six months before paying for their permit again.

Starr’s permit needs to be renewed, so he wants to be able to wait six months before having to buy a new one.

He says many companies were unable to operate during the pandemic due to government mandates.

“This just seems to be a natural development. Once we were told we couldn’t work with a license they sold us, at least we’d get some credit for it. That’s all we ask, ”said Starr.

Each year, restaurants pay the health district between $ 250 and $ 800 to keep working. It includes costs for inspections and more.

This money finances the district with $ 1.2 million.

“If we extend those six months, we’re looking at anywhere near more than $ 600,000 to do it at the agency’s expense,” said Health District’s Ray Byrne.

Ultimately, Health decided against it, saying it will provide relief through the CARES Act for restaurant owners who already have PPE and other supplies.

Nor would they know where to get that $ 600,000 to help.

The district is also currently waiving late fees for those who need them. That said, if a restaurant’s health permit needed to be renewed, the owner would have up to 30 days to renew it without paying the $ 110 fee.

The Health District says it works closely with these restaurant owners when they need to be refreshed. If the restaurants are not renewed and continue to operate, they can be closed. However, it is all case-by-case.

“I am empathetic to our restaurant owners and we want to try to find ways to help them. I know we also give corporate grants instead of doing that. I think we can reconsider that as we get more COVID relief, ”said Mayor Ben Wick of Spokane Valley. He is also a board member for the health district.

It was disappointing and surprising news for Starr. He thought it was going to happen, but it didn’t.

“We’re going to find a way to do it,” he said. “It’s not the first time the wind has blown out of us or our feet have been thrown out from under us.”

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